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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Jun 2018

Research article | 07 Jun 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Effects of Arctic stratospheric ozone changes on spring precipitation in the northwestern United States

Xuan Ma1, Fei Xie1, Jianping Li1,2, Wenshou Tian3, Ruiqiang Ding4, Cheng Sun1, and Jiankai Zhang3 Xuan Ma et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology and College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • 2Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical Modeling, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China
  • 3College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Abstract. Using observations and reanalysis, we find that changes in April precipitation variations in the northwestern US are strongly linked to March Arctic stratospheric ozone (ASO). An increase (decrease) in ASO can result in enhanced (weakened) westerlies in the high and low latitudes of the North Pacific but weakened (enhanced) westerlies in the mid-latitudes. The anomalous circulation over the North Pacific can extend eastward to western North America, facilitating (impeding) the flow of a dry and cold airstream from the middle of North America to the North Pacific and enhancing (weakening) downwelling in the northwestern US, which results in decreased (increased) precipitation there. Model simulations using WACCM4 support the statistical analysis of observations and reanalysis data, and further reveal that the ASO influences circulation anomalies over the northwestern US in two ways. Stratospheric circulation anomalies caused by the ASO changes can propagate downward to the troposphere in the North Pacific and then eastward to influence the strength of the circulation anomalies over the northwestern US. In addition, the ASO changes cause sea surface temperature anomalies over the North Pacific that would cooperate with the ASO changes to modify the circulation anomalies over the northwestern US. Our results suggest that ASO variations could be a useful predictor of spring precipitation changes in the northwestern US; The northwestern US may become dryer in future springs due to ASO recovery.

Xuan Ma et al.
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Xuan Ma et al.
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